Manchester United ended their miserable pre-season tour of United States with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in their final fixture of International Champions Cup. Alexis Sanchez shone for the Red Devils, who scraped past a new looking Real side, playing for the first time without Portugese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The ICC was meant to be a preparation for the upcoming season for the teams. But for Jose Mourinho and his squad, the tournament was turning out to be a total disaster. In their first match, the Red Devils labored past AC Milan, beating them in penalties after the game ended 1-1 in regulation time. The next fixture against Liverpool turned out to be humiliating affair, as Mourinho and co. were thrashed 4-1 by their arch-rivals.
Coming up against Real, many expected another defeat for the English side. But Sanchez had different ideas. The Chilean has been under-fire following his mediocre displays since his transfer from Arsenal earlier this year. The club supporters criticized his display against Liverpool, so much so that his manager had to defend him publicly. And the striker repaid Mourinho's faith with a wonderful display on Tuesday.
Sanchez scored one, and assisted another to help Red Devils beat Real 2-1. He opened the scoring in the 18th minute after some wonderful combination play down the right by Ander Herrera and Matteo Darmian. The latter put a cut-back on the edge of the area, where Sanchez calmly slotted it past Kiko Casilla.
And United doubled their almost 10 minutes later. Juan Mata ran behind the Real backline, and played a chipped ball in the box for Sanchez. The Chilean headed it down at the edge of the area, where an onrushing Ander Herrera placed it past the Real goalkeeper.
The Spanish side were stunned by the two quick goals, and sprung back into action. Vinicius Junior, who was signed earlier this summer, looked particularly bright. They were constantly attacking the United goal, and the pressure paid off in the stoppage time of the first half. Theo Hernandez played a lovely cross in the box from the left side. Waiting in the box was Karim Benzema, who ghosted behind Eric Bailly and tapped the ball past a hapless David de Gea.
Real constantly attacked the United goal in the second half, but were unable to break through. When the final whistle blew, there was a very small reason to cheer for Mourinho, his team and United fans, given it was their first win in regulation time throughout the US tour.